tv Meet the Press NBC March 3, 2013 8:00am-9:00am PST
white house to meet with president obama. moments after he returned to his office, i spoke with him about that meeting issue what's next, and what's at stake in this debate. mr. speaker, thank you for taking the time. >> good to be with you. >> as we sit here friday afternoon, you have emerged from a meeting at the white house. there is no deal. take me inside the room. what happened? >> well, it was a very nice polite discussion. i had asked the president and senator reid to come with a plan to replace the sequester. you know, listen, we've known about this for 16 months. and yet even today, there's no plan from senate democrats or the who u.s. to replace the sequester. and over the last 10 months, house republicans have acted twice to replace the sequester. there are smarter ways to cut spending than these automatic across the board -- >> that's just not true. they have made it very clear as the president just did that he has a plan that he's put forward. that involves entitlement cuts, that involves spending cuts, that you've made a choice as
have republicans to leave tax loopholes in place, and you'd rather have those and live with all these -- >> david, that's just nonsense. if he had a plan, why wouldn't senate democrats go ahead and pass it? the house has acted twice over the last 10 months to replace the sequester. if we're going to -- the president got his tax hikes on january 1. if we're going to get rid of loopholes, let's lower rates and make the tax code fair for all americans. >> let's talk about that for a second because this can get complicated but it's an important point. if most republican economists believe that tax loopholes is actually tax spending, it's actually spending in the tax code. >> that's correct. >> so if you like defense spending, and that's going to be cut arbitrarily, you would agree that this is stealth responding in the tax code, why not give on this? why not allow some revenues to come from tax reform, you protect defense spending and unlock the key to getting the entitlement cuts the president
says he would give you if you would just give revenues on tax reform? >> i have worked with the president for two years to try to come to an agreement. unfortunately, we've not been able to do so. but the house -- >> you were for tax reform a couple of months ago. >> i want tax reform. republicans want tax reform. we want to bring rates down for all americans so that we have a fairer tax code. but to arbitrarily pull out a couple of tax expenditures and to say, well, we ought to use that to get rid of the sequester, well, every american knows washington has a spending problem. every american in these tough economic times has to find a way to balance their budget. they have got to make choices. they expect washington to live within its means and make choices as well. we know we have a structural deficit. the president has run up $5 trillion worth of debt in the last five years. we have another $1 trillion budget deficit this year. it's time for the president and senate democrats to get serious about the long-term spending
problem that we have. >> again, and the president has laid this out. he is serious about tackling the long-term spending problems, including dealing with medicare. but he said it here. there's an iron clad rule that republicans have, no new revenue. or there can be no deal. >> david, the president got $650 billion of higher taxes on the american people on january 1. how much more does he want? when is the president going to address the spending side of this? >> but simpson and boles, who a lot of people around here think it's really the paradigm, had a look at long-term debt reduction and they wanted a lot more revenue. you say he got his revenues, end of topic, he got $600 billion. you yourself said we got 99% of the bush tax cuts extended. that's a pretty good deal. so you didn't have to give up a lot for that. only 18% of the bush tax cuts were rescinded with that $600 billion -- >> there was no -- >> but wait a second.
you committed to more in the way of revenue just last december. >> but the president and i never came to an agreement. he could have come to an agreement but he didn't. he got his tax hikes. it's time to cut spending. and every american knows it. >> but the president, is he not committed to spending, does the deal he put on the table not include over $900 billion in spending cuts over 10 years? >> well, the president asked for $1.3 trillion worth of increases in revenue, and only put up $850 billion worth of spending cuts. everybody in washington knows what the problem is. but nobody wants to address it. i've been here for 22 years. and i've watched presidents from both parties. i've watched leaders from both parties kick this can down the road, kick it down the road, and kick it down the road. we are out of road to kick the can down. we've got a long-term spending problem that has to be addressed. i spent the last two-plus years trying to bring this town to address this problem, and it is going to be addressed. >> there's going to be different
points of view of that, because obviously the president believes he has done it and is addressing it. i want to pin you down on two points. you were talking about tax reform. and your objection it seems to this formulation, which is allow some revenues to come from tax reform to unlock entitlement cuts and then get rid of the sequester. but you think that's ash trary and is just a couple of deductions. are you open down the line to using revenue derived from tax reform closing deductions to actually pay down the deficit? >> i'm going to say it one more time. the president got his tax hikes on january 1. the issue here is spending. spending is out of control. there are smarter ways to cut spending than the silly sequester that the president demanded. so we need to address the long-term spending problem. but we can't cut our way to prosperity. we also need real economic growth. american family wages aren't growing. they are being squeezed. and as a result, we've got to
find a way through our tax code to promote more economic growth in our country. we can do this by closing loopholes, bringing the rates down for all americans, making the tax code fairer. it will promote more economic growth -- >> there's no evidence that >> yeah. ronald reagan, 1981. >> he also raised taxes. >> and it worked very well. >> but he raised taxes as well. it didn't hurt the economy, did it? >> listen, he lowered taxes twice, both in 1981 and again as the 1986 tax reform. when they lowered rates for all americans, we had this boom in economic growth. why? because we got rid of a lot of the silly deductions, brought the rates down to help promote more economic growth in our country. >> the president says, look, on the long-term spending issues on
health care, and i've talked about this with you before, you'd like us to raise the eligibility age for medicare recipients. that's something the president opposes. >> no, no, no. he was for it. >> but then he pulled back. >> right. >> but he's for means testing for wealthy americans. that's on the table according to the white house. and for what's called in this town chain cpi, which is a reduction in benefits over time. how is that not being serious about the long-term entitlement problems? >> then why haven't senate democrats passed the president's plan? the house has passed a plan twice. over the last 10 months to replace the sequester. senate democrats have done nothing. it's time for them to vote. it's time for us to get back to regular order here in congress. whether the house passes a bill, the senate passes a bill, if we disagree we go to conference to resolve the differences. i made this point at the white house today. it's time for us to do this via
regular order. later on this month, the house is going to move its budget. senator reid acknowledged that the senate expects to move their budget later on this month. hopefully out of this process, we can go to conference with the senate and maybe come to some agreement. >> what goes on in these meetings? you talk about a nice conversation and talk about your relationship being pretty good with the president. it's hard for any of us to believe that given how personal it seems, how pointed the language seems to be, and that you're just at such a basic philosophical, ideological, practical disagreement here. i mean, you've got congress left town. both sides don't have a deal. and it's going forward. >> we had a pleasant but frank meeting. i made it clear to the president that he got $1 billion tax hikes in obama care. another $15 billion on january first. we have to deal with the spending side just like every american family has to.
>> you've used some tough language this week. and at one point this week, you directed your fire at the white house and at the senate. and here's what you said. >> we have moved the bill in the house twice. we should not have to move a third bill before the senate gets off their ass and begins to do something. >> what did you mean by that? and is that appropriate for the speaker of the house to speak that way? >> listen, i speak english. and the fact is, the house has done its work. we have this sequester because the president demanded it. and because senate democrats have refused to act. >> 174 of your members in the house voted to support it at your urging. you both agreed to do this. >> the president demanded it at the 11th hour in july of 2011. because he didn't want to be inconvenienced by having another vote on the debt limit before his re-election in 2012. and as a result, with the agreement that senator reid, senator mcconnell and myself had
that didn't have the sequester, he would not accept. so he demanded that we find a way so he could avoid a second debt limit vote before his re-election. that's where the sequester came from. >> so you say that the house has twice passed a bill on this. the truth is you passed a bill that you knew would never be accepted by democrats. you target setting up exchanges under obama care. you target dodd frank. you target medicaid eligiblibility. those are poison pills that you say the democrats are doing now. >> most of the changes in our bill to replace the sequester came out of the president's own budget. not all of them, but most of the changes. >> stuff that you put in there, you knew democrats wouldn't support, and it's exactly what you say senate democrats are doing now, putting in things that the republicans won't support. >> the house passes a bill. the senate can pass a bill. if we disagree, we go to conference and work it out. >> what happens now? what do you think the impact of all of this is?
the president is saying there will be a ripple effect in the economy. there be a growth cut, a loss of 750,000 jobs. >> why hasn't he acted? >> what's the impact? >> this is not the smartest way to cut money. the smarter way would be to actually move a bill that deals with the long-term spending problem. you can't continue to spend money that you don't have. >> is this going to hurt the economy? will it hurt economic recovery? >> i don't know whether it's going to hurt the economy or not. i don't think anyone quite understands how the sequester is really going to work. >> is the president exaggerating when he and his cabinet lay out the consequences? >> well, if you look at the fact that they claimed all these air traffic controllers are going to be laid out, and then found out they really didn't have to. and when the secretary of education went out and claimed that all these teachers in one county in west virginia were being laid off as a result of the sequester, found out that wasn't quite true.
and then the release of thousands of detainees down in arizona before the sequester even takes effect. there's a lot of questions about how the white house is handling the communications on this. >> you called the sequester dangerous, and it would, quote, threaten u.s. national security. were you exaggerating? >> i am concerned about its impact on our economy and its impact on our military. listen, we've known about this problem for 16 months. we've known the sequester was coming. that's why the house last year acted twice. why didn't the senate democrats act? where was the president's plan? why didn't they pass something? and here we are at the -- beyond the 11th hour, looking at each other. without having fixed it. >> do you think bob woodward has exposed something about the white house positions on all of this that we didn't know? >> i think he made clear that the sequester was the
president's idea. it was the white house that demanded it. i think bob woodward was right. >> the feeling is, you hear it publicly from the president. but also privately as well, that you can't agree even if you'd like to on any more revenue because the house caucus, conservatives, tea party folks, were so upset with you for the last revenue increase to avoid the fiscal cliff that they in effect lead you, that you don't lead them, that you don't have room to maneuver. >> david, let me say this. there's not one member of our caucus who said one word to me that was critical of the fact that we lowered taxes for 99.1% of the american people. not one. >> are you secure in your speakership? >> listen, i'm here to lead the fight against out of control spending. and i'm going to lead that fight as speaker of the house. >> the next crisis potentially is what happens when you fund the government for the rest of the year. that's called the continuing resolution. are you committed to doing whatever it takes to keep the
government open? >> absolutely. we at the house next week will act to extend the continuing resolution through the end of the fiscal year, september 30. the president this morning agreed that we should not have any talk of a government shutdown. so i'm hopeful that the house and senate will be able to work through this. >> so what happens next? is the political outcry, does it cause so much political pain on one side or the other that the other side gives? how does it get resolved? >> i don't think anyone quite understands how it gets resolved. ar after our continuing resolution, we'll continue to work on our budget. the house has done a budget every year since i've been speaker. the senate hasn't done a budget for four years. they have committed to do a budget this year, and i hope that they do. and out of that process maybe, maybe we can find a way to deal with our long-term spending problem. >> i'll ask you what my white house colleagues in the press corps there have asked the
president. do you bear any responsibility for a failure to find agreement? >> there's no one in this town who's tried harder to come to an agreement with the president to deal with our long-term spending problem. no one. it's unfortunate, and we've not been able to come to an agreement. but the house did its work to avoid this sequester, to avoid these random and automatic spending cuts. the fact is, the president and senate democrats have done nothing to pass a bill to avert this and deal honestly with the spending problem the country has. >> just a couple of quick items away from this fight if i can. on gun control, you know, you memorably stood up and applauded when the president recognized then victims including gabby giffords at the state of the union. in the house, will they get a vote that the president said they need to get on all of the proposed gun control measures? >> i've made clear if the senate acts on gun control legislation, the house will consider it.
>> are background checks the sweet spot here? do you support them? >> we have had a number of hearings in the house and we'll continue to have hearings. but, david, we need to look at more than just guns. we need to look at violence in our society. we've got a violent society. if you look at all of these mas shootings, what you see is the people who perpetrated these crimes all had a history of mental illness. so where's the nexus? how do we insure that we keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have them? >> a poignant moment when rose parks was honored with the statue here. and a heated vote about voting rights. justice scalia said the act now amounts to per petiation of racial entitlement and questioned whether it was the kind of question you can leave to congress. you voted to reauthororithior a
it in 2006. do you think it's still needed? >> it passed with large majorities in the house and senate. i think it's something that has served our country well. but there is an argument over a very small section of the voting rights act, and that's what the court is going to consider. >> you told the "wall street journal" in january in the middle of the fiscal cliff deal, i need this job like i need a hole in the head. it doesn't sound like you're particularly loving your work. >> this is hard. i think the american people understand it's hard. you know, if solving the spending problem were easy, somebody around here over the last 20 years would have done it. it's not easy. and there are big disagreements between the two parties in terms of how we address it. but it's an issue that has to be addressed. and i frankly have made it my mission as speaker to address this problem, because it is the greatest threat to our country.
>> is it hi am grateful to you today. >> grateful to do it. and now national economic council director gene sperling. >> thank you, david. >> tough questions for the speaker of the house and now some tough questions about you with this whole fight. you have a laminated copy of the president's principles, his plan as i described when i questioned the speaker of the house what the president was for. but here's the problem. senate democrats didn't take that blueprint in their legislative fight. if this was the plan, why didn't senate democrats control, you know, that control the senate, the president's party, why didn't they get it passed? >> actually, david, when you're trying to pass something in the united states congress, you need 60 votes in the senate. you do need some bipartisan support. and, look, i think what the president has said all along is that we're only going to get the kind of agreement that gets rid of this very harmful sequester that takes away the threat of shutdown and defaults and all the things that are holding back
economic growth and job creation in our country. if both sides are willing to compromise. you're right, the president has a plan. this is a summary. it's on the white house website. but the speaker understands this. and what i think is most important to understand is that this really does reflect compromise. we have cut the deficit by $2.5 trillion. $3 in spending cuts for every $1 of revenue. now the president puts an offer to speak aer boehner in decembe even though the speaker walked away from the negotiations he's kept that offer on. and this offer has $2 in spending cuts for every dollar in revenue. >> mr. sperling, you knew you were not going to get new revenue. they signalled this repeatedly, and the president went out there to campaign to try to raise the stakes and raise the public pressure, and it didn't work. was it a miscalculation? >> david, i have to disagree with you. we were in negotiations in december where the speaker of the house john boehner who you just interviewed was willing to
suggest put on the table $1 trillion in revenues for deficit reduction as long as it came from reform that focused on closing loopholes and deductions. >> right. but that fiscal cliff deal, what ended up being was just a tax increase that came out of that. there was not balance which is what the president says he's for now. there was no spending cuts. it was just revenue. that's what the speaker said. you got your revenue. now where are the cuts? >> let me answer. obviously, the president wanted the balanced agreement. the speaker walked away. we wanted an agreement that included long-term entitlement reform. and we give the speaker credit for the $600 billion. but i'll do a simple math equation, david. if he put $1 trillion of revenue on the table 10 weeks ago, and $600 billion has been passed, if he was keeping his offer on the table, he would be at least willing to consider $400 billion more in revenues as a starting point from tax reform if the president is keeping his offer on the table. and, david, as you know, these are tough things the president
agreed to. means testing, medicare. that means higher premiums for well off medicare recipients. $400 billion over 10 years in medicare savings. and the hardest of all -- >> just to point out -- >> of the consumer price index. >> that's not what senate democrats put in their replacement legislation. so when it came to the legislative fight, because this is tough for democrats. they're not onboard. so that's not the plan that he went to legislative battle with it. that's not what the senate could pass. >> i think we need to separate two different things. what the senate put forward was a temporary replacement bill just so that we could have more time to work on a different agreement. the real answer to eliminating this harmful sequester for the next 10 years is exactly the type of balanced agreement that the president has called for, has kept on the table, and that the speaker boehner was willing
to consider just months ago. >> let me jump to this issue of impact on the economy to federal workers, to the military and other aspects of this. i'm not going to play this particular sound bite. but a couple of weeks ago, the president was warning of the meat cleaver approach, it's going to jeopardize our military readiness, that this was really going to hurt people who would lose their jobs. and then on friday, he seemed to change his tone. this is what he said. >> this is not going to be an apocalypse, i think, as some people said. it's just dumb. and it's going to hurt. >> did the president exaggerate the case to try to win enough political pressure on republicans that he didn't get in the end? >> no, not at all. you know, independent economists from the president of the federal reserve and others have estimated this sequester is going to cost our economy 750,000 jobs. i talk to ceos every day who
tell me they have job creating projects on hold because of the sequester and its uncertainty. i talked to a major ceo who says he has 20,000 suppliers, small businesses, that will be deeply hurt. and we could go on about all the impact. >> well, the impact includes -- what about teachers? arne duncan, the secretary of education, said on "face the nation" last sunday literally teachers now are getting pink slips, notices they can't come back this fall. and then some fact checking came out to prove that wasn't the case. "the washington post" on thursday reporting that sequester spin gets ahead of reality. when he was pressed in a white house briefing wednesday to name an example, duncan came up with one school district in west virginia, and he acknowledged whether it's all sequester related, i don't know. as it turns out it isn't. doesn't it hurt the white house's credibility, the president's own credibility, to make the claims have them turn out to not be true? >> david, i think we are having a debate about what the impact
is in the first couple of days. nobody ever suggested that this harmful sequester which the speaker himself would be devastating to national security was going to have all its impact in the first few days. it is a slow grind. but make no mistake about it. you can't cut $42 billion from defense in seven months and not hurt jobs, veterans, and, you know, veterans are often those who work in civilian military jobs. you're going to hurt a lot of people. a lot of communities that rely on military spending. and, yes, you are going to hurt education. you're going to hurt children getting mental health treatment. and my hope, david, our hope is that as more republicans start to see this pain in their own districts that they will choose bipartisan compromise over this absolutist position. that's why, you know, just yesterday the president is on the phone calling both democrats and republican senators who he believes want to be part of a compromise. >> back in october, the president staked out some very clear ground in the presidential
debate against mitt romney. here's what he said. >> first of all, the sequester is not something that i proposed. it's something that congress has proposed. it will not happen. the budget that we're talking about is not reducing our military spending. it's maintaining it. >> the white house has acknowledged that's not accurate. the president did propose this. he didn't want it to become law, and republicans supported it. but it was the white house's idea. he said there unequivocally it will not happen. and yet it's happened. is there some responsibility he bears for that? >> david, jonathan chase of new york magazine, you know, gave the following analogy. a mugger comes up to you and says, give me your wallet. you say, i don't have my wallet but here's my watch. well, technically, giving your watch was your idea. but it doesn't really tell the whole story. we know, everyone knows, that the president wanted an enforcement mechanism that included revenues on the most well off. the speaker insisted, the republicans insisted that, it just be an enforcement
mechanism. because we were forced to do that it is true we suggested going back to the graham ruddman hollings method -- >> that's what he said in the debate, i didn't propose it. >> i think it's most accurate that they did propose an all spending mechanism that would have the type of harmful impacts on defense and on education and research. and the idea -- and this is the critical part. the idea was not that these would go into effect but that people of good faith would come back and compromise. and we know that's important. republicans aren't getting a win by letting the sequester go into effect. they want more funding for border security. they say they want more funding for defense. the speaker says he wants more on long-term entitlement reform. this gets nothing. it gets long-term entitlement -- >> was the president right or wrong in that clip i just showed you? >> i think the president was overall right in that the idea of an across the board all spending cut was the idea of
republicans. but, yes, we put forth the design of how to do that. >> which was the sequester. >> but, david, the right answer is -- >> which was the sequester? >> the right answer is we did all agree to it to force us to compromise on long-term entitlements and revenue reform. >> but that hasn't happened. >> that simpson-bowles called for and others. >> but that hasn't happened? >> and why hasn't it happened, david? >> i think you made your case about that. in the back and forth, you found yourself in a feud with bob woodward of "the washington post" about some of these issues. and part of that exchange in an otherwise cordial email included this. this is an email from you to bob woodward. i do truly believe you should rethink your comment about saying that the president asking for revenues is moving the goal post. i know you may not believe this, but as a friend i think you will regret staking out that claim. when you said you would regret staking out that claim, what did you mean? >> i meant that while the first issue of whose idea it was of
the sequester was when i disagreed with him on, but i could see how honorable people could disagree. i was trying to explain to him from a substantive point of view that the idea that the president of the united states was moving the goal post by asking for the type of balance of tax reform that raised revenues, which speaker boehner himself you know had called for, as well as long-term entitlements together to get rid of the sequester was not only not moving the goal post, that was the whole idea of the sequester. and i think that email was cordial. it was substantive. it was polite. >> but you're going to regret it. do you think that's a good idea to say that? >> i've had a 20-year relationship with bob woodward. it's been friendly. cordial. those emails are very substantive. cordial. >> why do you think he's gone public with it and made an issue of it? >> i guess i would ask people to look at his reply. he said, gene, you don't need to apologize. he welcomes my advice.
i can't really explain it. all i can say, david, is i hope bob and i can put this behind us because i think it takes away the focus. >> were you threatening him in any way? >> of course not. >> mr. sperling, i'll leave it there. i want to clarify one point. in the white house's view, there will not be a government shutdown in several weeks. this fight will extend now to a budget fight in the fall. is that a fair thing to say? >> what is fair is that if republicans stay with their part of the deal, meaning that they put forward a continuing resolution that's reasonable, not political, stays at the level we agreed to, which is $1.043 trillion -- >> are you committed to not shutting down the government? >> if they agree to that, which they suggested they would, then the president doesn't believe in manufacturing another crisis, but we will still be committed to finding democrats and republicans that will work on a bipartisan compromise to eliminate -- get rid of the sequester. that's why the president is calling the leadership on friday. that's why he spent the saturday
afternoon calling republican and democratic senators who he thinks could be part of a caucus of common sense to help move our country forward. >> we will leave it there. gene sperling, thank you very much. >> thank you, david. and coming up here, what are the sequester cuts and all of their impacts, both real and politically? how does it get resolved? how do we get to a point where we can avoid these crises in the future? these kinds of financial crises. with me, insights and analysis [ male announcer ] this is kevin. to prove to you that aleve is the better choice for him, he's agreed to give it up. that's today? [ male announcer ] we'll be with him all day as he goes back to taking tylenol. i was okay, but after lunch my knee started to hurt again. and now i've got to take more pills. ♪ yup. another pill stop. can i get my aleve back yet? ♪ for my pain, i want my aleve.
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we are back with our roundtable. there's the l.a. daily news. washington is totally broken. i think there's a lot of that feeling going around. joining me now for the roundtable, republican congressman from idaho raul labrador. managing editor of thegrio.com joy reid. first time on "meet the press." welcome. >> thank you. >> our chief white house correspondent and political director chuck todd. his 900th time on "meet the press." columnist for "the washington post" kathleen parker. and nbc special correspondent tom brokaw. welcome to all of you. mr. brokaw, what do you think of this fine mess washington finds itself in once again? >> well, i really think that behind the headlines, this "the washington post" this morning, and it says that obama sees 2014 as key to his legacy. what we have going on here 18 months out are both sides positioning themselves for trying to retain control on the
republican side of the house and maybe even win the senate. the president trying to build a legacy of some kind. there's a whole lot of politics in this, as there is in everything else. kind of two villages clashing with each other who seem to occupy a separate universe. i think it's going to be ok in the short-term. but once these cuts begin to take hold, and people begin to respond to them, even those who believe in the idea of a smaller government, that's when the rubber will hit the road. and i just don't know when that's going to be. >> congressman, what do you say about that? do you go home? do you worry that there's a cascading effect to the cuts or do folks at home say you did the right thing? >> most folks in idaho are saying we did the right thing. if you think about what families have had to deal with over the last four or five years, they've had to cut spending. we're talking about two cents of every dollar that's spent in washington, d.c., has been cut. we are borrowing between 35 cents and 42 cents every single year of every dollar, and we are worried about two cents of every dollar. i think we need to be sure we do the right things.
and the president already told you -- in fact, the gentleman who was here before already told you that republicans are going to feel the pain in their districts. that's what the president is going to try to do. make sure that the republicans feel the pain in their district. instead of doing the responsible thing, we can find ways to cut in washington, d.c., that are responsible, that are appropriate, that are not painful. but what the white house is going to make sure that we do is that we feel the pain because they don't want to cut government spending. they want to increase taxes, and they want to increase spending. >> joy reid, the president in effect tried that, and the polling shows that it was successful. our polls show 52% think it's a bad idea. but here was "the washington post" on tuesday. this was a quote. this will be the first significant tea party victory in that we got what we set out to do in changing washington. >> yeah. and therein lies the dilemma for republicans, right? they have built a lot of their brand at this point, a significant share of their brand, around cutting government
spending. but you can't both take credit for the overall cutting of government and then try to get out of the blame if specific cuts hurt you in your district or if your constituents feel the pain of it. so republicans are trying to balance what is a brand problem, which is that they are now the party of cutting spending, of austerity. but austerity is not popular. the polling shows that the american people would blame republicans if the pain for a austerity is felt by them. >> so what about the 2014? are we beyond thinking about this year, kathleen? is it about the mid terms? >> well, apparently, it's in my newspaper so it must be true. [ laughter ] >> you know, that's a very daunting task for the president. it's clearly his strategy to make the republicans responsible for any fallout. but the republicans are probably going to prevail in this because just traditionally, republicans do better in the off year. there's higher turnout. so the president is trying to
buck an historical trend. and i suspect too that's what happening with the sequester and the cuts, the results of yet to be seen, will play pretty well in the congressional districts he's aiming for. >> is that the miscalculation here by the white house, chuck? >> i think the miscalculation was they didn't understand for some reason that john boehner, mitch mcconnell, and jon cornyn, what president obama was asking them to do was, will you risk your political career, will you lose your job in exchange for doing a deal with me that includes taxes? the president never says, will you lose your job in the middle, but that is the fact. they would have lost their jobs. john cornyn would lose in the primary. mitch mcconnell would lose the primary. what i found interesting about last week was everybody claiming that this was such a horrible thing, but the actions didn't meet the words. there was no serious effort to stop it. and you almost wonder if these
politicians are secretly going to themselves, both some on the left who would say to you, they'll never get these defense cuts any other way. on the right who will say, there's no way we can convince members of our own party to do the cuts so we can blame the other side if you don't like them, but it's the only way government spending ever gets cut around here. and i think that it was a silent majority clearly in the house and senate that didn't mind seeing these go through because if they did, they would have done real -- made a real effort. >> but, david, you know, john boehner, i have been a critic of john boehner at times. he has been willing to lose his job over increasing taxes, over cutting spending. he actually had a deal with the president, and it was the president who moved the goal post. >> he would have lost the speakership, right? >> he wouldn't have. we increased taxes -- i didn't vote for it, but we increased taxes at the end of the fiscal year. >> that's not what john boehner said to david gregory. the president got his taxes. and he said, what do you mean,
david, we lowered taxes on 99% of the people. >> we did, but the arrangement reality /* -- but the reality is he was willing to go to the white house and risk his job knowing that many of us wouldn't be happy, and the president continues to move the goal post. that's what bob woodward has been reporting. and finally somebody in washington, d.c., is telling the truth about what the president is doing. he doesn't want a deal. he wants a political victory on taxes, he wants a political victory on spending. and i'm afraid that he wants a political victory on immigration. >> tom brokaw, you have known bob woodward a long time. and this issue came up as i asked gene sperling about. and here's how woodward reacted to getting the email. he spoke on cnn this week. >> i mean, it makes me very uncomfortable to have the white house telling reporters you're going to regret doing something that you believe in, even though we don't look at that way, you do look at it that way. >> you know, i told gene
sperling he should be offended that nobody believes he's that threatening. [ laughter ] >> well, i have known bob a long time, going back to his seminal days as a watergate reporter. and i'm confident that white houses have made him a lot more uncomfortable than that email over the course of the years when he talked to. any reporter who has worked in this town has been yelled at by somebody in the white house or somebody on the hill. it just comes with the territory. this is a speck that became a sandstorm overnight. and i think it's really reflective of the kind of media environment that we live in, in which everybody is looking to stir something up. when i was covering watergate there was a wise old bird who did commentary for the new republic, john osborn. he took me to lunch one day, and he had a blow-up with the white house the day before. he said, you know, brokaw, the problem is that journalists, all of we've got glass jaws. we throw punches. when somebody swings back, we go down with the first punch crying foul of some kind.
that's what we have to keep in mind. reading bob between the lines here in his last appearances, i think he does believe it kind of got out of his control at some point. we've got to move on. the country doesn't care about this. this is an intramural fight in a high school cafeteria. it should be over now. >> i don't know if that guy knows my wife, but she says the same thing. joy, where does this go from here? some bobbing and weaving there from gene sperling about avoiding a government shutdown. but boehner said we're not going to shut down the government. this will be a fight later on. do liberals have to come to the idea that the president is willing to give up some stuff on medicare at a certain point if he can get to that end game where he might be able to get more revenue? >> obviously, liberals are not happy with any idea that cuts medicare. it was interesting that the whole deal that came together, the budget control act in 2011, left medicare off the table. it's such a hot issue. and i think republicans maybe have some regret they didn't try to get that in there because
this deal didn't include medicare. that said, the president has put it on the table in the past. his base doesn't like it. but i don't see how you get to a compromise when paul ryan, the budget writer in the house, is coming back to this idea of voucherizing medicare. he is bringing that back again. this is an idea that republicans almost universally supported. they voted it through in the house. they paid for it to some extent withes their constituents in the mid terms. but i think that bringing that idea back is such a nonstarter that i can't imagine a compromise position between the white house, which is saying they want to protect medicare recipients, and vouchers. i don't think that will fly with democrats at all. >> what's striking to me is that these issues are still so hard and that the election didn't seem to solve them completely enough. >> well, that's a statement rather than a question. so i'll just talk about something that i want to talk about, which is -- >> well, but i mean, is that true? why didn't it? >> why didn't it? because -- look, the republicans
cannot give on taxes. they simply can't. it would damage their brand permanently. and the president is unwilling to -- he is insisting on raising revenues through taxes. there's no way to have a meeting of the minds when those differences exist. and that's not going to change. the sequester will continue through the fiscal year. however -- and i think it's very important to make this note. there is some flexibility in how the sequester cuts are applied, despite what's been said. this week, you know, the congress is going to pass a bill, a defense appropriations bill, to allow the defense to have flexibility in how to apply the cuts. and there's more to say on that, but it's not quite as extreme as it seems. and the republicans, there's just no real reason for the republicans to give at this point. >> let me get if break in here. we'll come back. chuck will we know why we're here. to chart a greener path in the air and in our factories. ♪ to find cleaner, more efficient ways to power flight. ♪
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on capitol hill. and it just came at a really interesting time this week with the debate in the supreme court about the future of the voting rights act, what kind of society we want to be and whether times have changed in our civil rights struggle. joy reid, i wanted to ask youi] about part of that debate. here was justice scalia saying something that got a lot of reaction about why he seemed to be suggesting voting rights act is not still necessary. a portion of what he said. >> i think it is attributable, very likely attributable, to a phenomenon that is called perpetuation of racial entitlement. it's been written about. whenever a society adopts racial entitlements it is very difficult to get out of them through the normal political processes. >> again, the voting rights act is a mandate that states like mississippi, louisiana, others in the south and elsewhere, to get federal permission if they are going to change the way people access voting.
how do you react to that? >> first of all, it was a very antebellum phrase. it was jarring to hear it. this is not the first time he has used the phrase "racial entitlement." one of the ironies is his apparent objection to section five of the voting rights act is it interrupts the sense of entitlement of voting officials to interrupt the demographic tide to try and thwart it. the reason it's happening is that you do have politicians that are attempting to alter the process, whether it's cutting down early voting days, instituting voter i.d. there was one instance argued during the court case about a municipality that literally stopped having elections because the demographic tide was turning against the white minority so they just stopped having elections to avert demographic tide. so this is a sense that people feel entitled to change the political process to stop mainly minorities from gaining political power. so it's sort of an ironic use of
phrase. >> congressman, is it still necessary to have a voting rights act? >> clearly, congress voted for it overwhelmingly. the question is whether it's constitutional and necessary. i can talk about the example in idaho. idaho has one statewide elected official that is hispanic. i am one of two congressmen in idaho that's hispanic. it's a majority white state. about 90% white. and they have no problem voting for racial minorities to represent them. i think we need to start rethinking all these things. in fact, i welcome all minorities to move to idaho and to states that are willing to vote statewide for minorities. >> how far have we come, tom? >> well, a long way but the journey is not complete yet. and i feel strongly that in this country we need to expand voting rights, not restrict them in some fashion. i would even move voting day from tuesday to a weekend, which i think would encourage more people who are consumed with working or taking care of children at home can't get to
the voting place. one of the great civil rights leaders has a movement called why tuesday to move it. to encourage people, a, to vote and feel fulfilled as citizens and get more actively involved. racial entitlement is a pretty loaded phrase it seems to me. the voting rights act was passed not as an entitlement but to raise the idea that all citizens in this country are equal. and that's not an entitlement that makes them exceptional. it just brings up the bar for everyone, whatever their color. and i think we have to examine this very carefully. there is a heck of a lot of voter suppression around the country, even if some democratic districts as well as republican districts, because secretaries of state control where the voting booths are and who gets to vote under what circumstances. we ought to change that. >> i want to add one thing. i would never try to interpret what justice scalia is thinking. but the issue here is section 5 specifically, which requires certain states be treated differently than others. the question is, are the data
being used to distinguish those states from others, are they still relevant today and should they be re-evaluated. and that's coming up several times. you know, this is an ongoing conversation. >> so this debate will continue. i wanted to get to the debate about working from home as well, but i think i know what you're thinking...
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survives a close shave with regulators. we'll sit down with the founder john zimmer. new video camera technology means soon you really could enhance a picture the way tv detectives do. and the strange reaction to marissa mayer's decision to bring workers back to work. with reporters john schwartz, "usa today" a "usa today" on "press: here." >> until a few weeks ago walking around naked in san francisco
was legal. stick with me-of- point. the city banned nudity. but this being san francisco, not all nudity. you can still be naked if you're in a parade, street festival or bay to breakers foot race. my point, and i do have one, is san francisco is pretty loose with the rules. which may be why so many startups love san francisco. startups like lyft a car sharing services. you may have seen the pink mustac mustaches, which allow regular people to act as taxi drivers, picking up fares arranged through an iphone act. a similar service does much the same thing using town cars. an idle driver can pick up fares. again, with no taxi medallion. several san francisco startups offer travelers hotel-like guest rooms without having to charge hotel tax. in each case, politicians and rulemakers have